Monthly Archives: December 2016
The holidays are a special time to visit with family and friends, but digestive upset from too many rich meals and trips to the dessert table can spoil the fun. Symptoms like indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating, or diarrhoea needn’t become a holiday tradition. Here are some tips that will help keep your digestive system happy and healthy throughout the festivities, or at any time of year.
Do Take time with your meals
Between planning and attending parties, shopping and travelling, there can be less time left over to do simple things like sit down and enjoy your meal. Rushing from one task or commitment to the next often finds us eating on the go. But even though we’re busy, it’s important to be comfortable and relaxed while eating a proper meal. Our bodies and parasympathetic nervous systems (which govern our digestion and bowels) work best when at ease. Carve out time to eat mindfully for best digestive results.
Do chew each bite 10 to 30 times
That bloating feeling you sometimes get can easily be eliminated by chewing your food slowly and properly. Reducing each mouthful into a ball of macerated food courtesy of saliva makes digestion easier. In fact, the digestive process actually starts in your mouth when your teeth break down food and enzymes called amylase and lingual lipase contained in your saliva jump in to complete the process. Amylase is a key component in turning starchy foods like bread into simple sugars and lingual laipase targets fats. Breaking food down properly before you swallow ensures less stress on the stomach and reduces the need to reach for over-the-counter digestive help.
Do zero in on protein first
Including protein with every meal will help balance your blood sugar and make you less likely to overindulge in desserts later. Protein takes a while to digest and slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream which in turn prevents blood sugar highs and lows. Add protein to every meal and kiss sugar cravings goodbye!
Do start taking digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes work by breaking down the food you’ve eaten into smaller micronutrients that the body burns as fuel. Micronutrients are reabsorbed by our small intestine and used to build cells and hormones. Here’s an example of how it works: When you eat lentils (an excellent source of folate) your digestive enzymes break down each and every lentil into tiny pieces (micronutrients) so you can absorb the valuable folate that is freed upon breakdown. Digestive enzymes also support your digestive system when it’s called on to process rich and heavy foods you might not often eat.
Do share with a friend
If you’re the type who likes to try a little bit of everything from the buffet table, why not pass your plate around and share? That way you won’t be tempted to eat every piece of food you’ve collected, but still have the chance to sample a good variety. Plus, you’ll save at least half the calories from what you don’t eat!
Do be mindful of your gut
The microbes living in your digestive tract actually play a role in how effectively you fight infection, your mood, and your ability to digest food. Maintaining a healthy gut flora (the assortment of microbes in your digestive tract) is essential for good health and helped by probiotics in our diet and supplementation regimens. Probiotics introduce a variety of bacterial strains into our bodies through the digestive system and make sure that one strain doesn’t dominate and lead to colony overgrowth, like yeast infections.
Do monitor the menu
If you’re hosting a dinner or potluck, leave ample time to plan a healthy menu and a list of nutritious sides or dishes guests can bring should they offer. It’s much better to have someone show up with a nutritiously-rich kale salad for example than a high fat, high carbohydrate macaroni salad.
Don’t consume a lot of liquids with your meals
Drinking too much water or other beverages like alcohol or juice during a meal can impair natural acid and bile concentrations needed for the stomach to properly digest food. Drinking too much cold water, for example, can slow digestion and cause cramping in those with sensitive stomachs. By all means take small sips while you’re eating, but try not to drink too much at least 15 minutes before a meal and 30 to 45 minutes after.
Don’t eat late into the night
Continue your party but clear the food away by 8pm. Late night eating is usually the culprit when it comes to acid reflux. Heartburn symptoms can especially get worse if you eat too much and then stretch out on the sofa after your meal.
Don’t eat fruit after a meal
Fruit digests faster than other foods. If it’s eaten directly after a large meal and with other foods, it sits in the stomach longer and starts to ferment in the gut, bringing on gas and bloating.
What to keep on hand:
Who doesn’t experience some sort of digestive challenge during the holidays? While symptoms can vary from person to person, the uncomfortable results remain the same. Be a good host and have some digestive relief at the ready for when you see that your guests might be experiencing gut discomfort.
From misplacing your car keys to forgetting your glasses on top of your head, everyone has a blip in memory from time to time. But what happens when you regularly feel as if you’re unable to focus, concentrate or even make the simplest decisions?
You’re probably experiencing a bout of brain fog – the vague sense that there’s something you need to do or say, but for some reason, you can’t quite remember.
While not as dramatic as the plot in James Herbert’s best-selling horror novel, The Fog, about a deadly mass of water particles in the air that drives its victims insane after they come in contact with it, suffering a temporary bout of brain fog can be unnerving.
If you’re otherwise healthy and get that foggy feeling every now and then, a few tweaks to your lifestyle should help lift the fog. If any condition persists, however, such as brain fog, it could be a signal of an underlying health condition. Consult your naturopathic doctor or other health care practitioner.
A head in the clouds
For an organ about the size of a small head of cabbage, your brain does remarkable work throughout your entire body. It controls all the body’s functions such as talking, swallowing, walking, and more. It also reminds you to blink, regulates your breathing and helps you to read printed words.
Although not a medically recognized term, brain fog seems to be a real symptom and happens to most of us at some point in our lives, according to Dr. Michael Segal, founder and chief scientist at SimulConsult.
Brain fog is:
- Difficulty focusing (inattention, difficulty correlating information, getting anything done takes a long time)
- Clouding of consciousness, lack of mental clarity
- Confusion; confusional state
- Difficulty retrieving memories (forgetfulness) and difficulty choosing words (some have wondered whether they are getting Alzheimer’s disease)
Why we get lost in the fog
Not enough sleep
The No. 1 cause of brain fog is lack of sleep.
“We all need between seven and nine hours of sleep in order to think clearly, and most of us just don’t get enough,” says registered nurse and homeopath Janet Neilson. “One or two nights a week of decent sleep just doesn’t cut it.”
If, despite good amounts of sleep, the brain fog symptoms persist, then chances are high that the culprit is food, either the type of food consumed (alcohol, sugar, refined carbohydrates,caffeine) or a deficiency. Restrictive eating habits, such as vegetarian or vegan diets can sometimes lead to a B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal protein and it is an essential nutrient for mental clarity.
Allergies cause the body to produce high levels of histamine. Histamine can cause brain fog, especially if one doesn’t have enough of an enzyme needed to break down histamine quickly enough. Common food allergen culprits involve specific proteins or antigens such as gluten (wheat, spelt, rye, barley and oats), casein (all dairy), yeast and food additives.
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
Irregular eating patterns can lead to low blood sugar levels or, alternatively, a diet high in excessive levels of carbohydrates (breads, pizzas, sugars) can lead to swings in blood-glucose levels.
Every time an individual gets hypoglycemic they are damaging their brains.
Circadian rhythms can be thrown off balance due to the extensive use of electronic devices. Bright lights coming off electronic devices can throw off the body’s rhythms and lead to circadian disruption that is similar to jet lag.
Some people are more sensitive to this than others. Additionally, the frequency with which young people are checking their devices creates a type of attention-deficit that can directly contribute to a lack of focus or motivation.
How to get clear-headed again
Taking daily supplements can help your brain do all the things it needs to, even when you’re sleeping. Here are some suggestions worth considering:
- CanPrev’s Mind-Pro™ can be taken chronically for general symptoms of brain fog or acutely prior to when extreme concentration or focus is required
- To feel clear-headed, practice good sleep hygiene and get up and go to bed at the same time each night
- Exercise (daily!) increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Both are vital for optimal brain performance
If you’re constantly coming down with colds or flu, the intensity of your workouts could be to blame.
Research shows that high-intensity exercise can actually compromise your immune system rather than strengthen it.
One study determined that while moderate exercise can lower the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, the risk is increased when greater demand is put on the body.
In fact, high-intensity exercise comprising 90 minutes of exercise or more can impair immunity for up to three days.
Now, before you hang up your gym shoes in defeat, there’s good news: certain herbs can act as effective natural immunity boosters, and are generally considered safe for most people.
Exercising at a steady pace three or four days a week is the smartest approach. But if you’re the type to take an aerobics class as a warmup to something a little more intense, you might want to take precaution and consider pre-exercise supplementation.
So how exactly do these herbs help? Some increase disease-fighting white blood cell levels, while others have natural antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Certain herbs can even alter the body’s stress response, which in turn indirectly strengthens the immune system.
A few tried-and-true natural remedies:
This multi-tasking herb increases the production of antibodies in the respiratory passages and protects against bacterial and viral infections. It also increases NK (natural killer) cells, which are a type of white blood cell.
Astragalus is a safe long-term immune support herb; plus it has a warming effect on the body, making it ideal for those who train outdoors.
Those with autoimmune disorders should use it with caution, as it can stimulate an already over-active immune system.
Classified as an adaptogenic herb, ginseng increases the body’s internal resistance to stress. Studies show that it can also shorten the duration and severity of colds and flu.
Out of all the varieties of ginseng, American is less stimulating and therefore more suitable for younger people. Diabetics and those taking blood-thinners or digoxin should consult with a healthcare provider before using.
Another adaptogenic herb, holy basil has antimicrobial properties and has been used in Indian traditional medicine for years to help increase energy, improve stress resistance and relieve coughs and cold. Diabetics and those taking heart or blood pressure medications should consult a doctor before using.
A primary herb for recovering from periods of exhaustion or illness. It’s an excellent rejuvenating tonic that helps to boost endurance while calming the nervous system.
Consumption of alcohol or sedatives is not recommended while taking this.
Also worth noting: It’s common for herbs to have more than one healing property. Make natural remedies part of your workout routine to help build up your immune system – and help keep illness at bay. CanPrev’s Cold-Pro™ contains astragalus, American ginseng plus five other potent, immune-boosting nutrients and anti-viral and antibacterial herbs. Take Cold-Pro™ to help maintain immune system function and relieve the symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infection.
CanPrev immunity boosters for cold & flu prevention and management
Visit our website to find these, and our other favourite immunity-boosting and cold-fighting products.